Our names are Ernesto Bulnes & Denisse Cambria and we are the founders & directors of Irôko Dance Academy, a Latin dance school based in Tampa, Florida. Three years ago at the height of the pandemic & while living in NYC, we decided that it was time for us to pursue our lifelong dream of opening a dance school in our home state of Florida. A few months later once travel restrictions were lifted and with the encouragement of our friends/family, we packed up our lives and made the drive south to Tampa where we began building our dance school from the ground up. With the support of our pro team members who traveled from New Jersey, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Puerto Rico, and Argentina to help us build the Irôko name- we have been able to grow to over 100 students from all walks of life and many of whom have also relocated to Tampa to train with us. To say we feel proud of our growth is an understatement. We are incredibly grateful to the countless people who have helped us along our journey to get to this point in our careers.
Three years later we are signing the lease to our first studio & again we find ourselves at the launching pad of our new goal- to expand Irôko Dance Academy in hopes of enriching the cultural arts landscape of Tampa by creating more spaces for dancers to grow and prosper in and outside of the dance studio. But none of this is possible without the support of our community. Start-up studio costs that include but are not limited to flooring, mirrors, sound equipment, licensing/permitting costs, and staffing can quickly rise to staggering numbers that we can't achieve on our own. So we are reaching out to you to help us make this studio opening possible if you feel led to be a part of this exciting endeavor!
All donations will go toward start-up business costs so that we can continue offering quality dance training while growing our community outreach initiatives. We have big plans for Irôko Dance Academy, plans that include offering a larger variety of weekly classes, monthly masterclass workshops with instructors from all over the world, Irôko Weekender/social dancing events, developing a kids/teens dance program with local schools, and pouring into the underserved communities in Tampa with dance education programs and job assistance opportunities. But to achieve these goals, we need to get our dance studio up & running. That's where you can contribute the most. We ask that aside from monetary donations, you share this donation opportunity with anyone you think might be interested in being a part of our journey.
We are always asked why we chose the name Irôko for our dance school and the answer is because the sacred Irôko tree is known for the many branches that extend outward in all directions and stand as a metaphor for strength & resilience. We'd like to think that our artistic reach as a dance school will continue to extend and touch the lives of people near and far- and we invite you to be a part of our network of branches to make that hope a reality.